Spirituality: If you stick with Jesus, he’ll keep you on course – Norwich Bulletin

I was on my way to New York City to go to a conference last weekend. I needed a coffee and decided to stop at Dunkin' Donuts. Now, visiting a doughnut shop is dangerous for a guy who is always watching his weight. What's worse was the fact that I was in the mood for something sweet.

As I looked at the offerings, I fought off the temptation to grab a double chocolate glazed treat. I decided I'd stick to the plan. I was going to get my hot coffee. Then I looked at the menu board. Suddenly a warm feeling came over me. Before I knew what was happening, I ordered a Coffee Coolata with just a bit of whipped cream.

I fell in love with Coolatas back in spring 2011. That's the year I began my ministry in Westerly. As I drove back and forth on Route 2, I would often stop at Dunkin' on the way. I'd treat myself to one of these special frozen coffees. I couldn't figure out how a coffee drink could taste so good by just adding a bit of whipped cream.

I figured frozen coffee couldn't be that bad for you. So I drank those Coolatas all summer long. A strange thing happened. By the end of summer I noticed that all my pants were getting a little tight around the waist. It didn't make sense. I was a lifetime Weight Watcher. I'm always counting points. I rarely went over my daily allotment.

I mentioned it to Priscilla, my Weight Watcher leader at the time. She laughed out loud. She said, "How many points are you counting for that drink?" I told her I was counting it like a black coffee and adding zero points. She said, "Look it up." I was shocked. It was 25 points without the whipped cream. Suddenly it all made sense.

Little mistakes or oversights can add up. It doesn't take much for us to get off course. Just ask a boater. While out on the Watch Hill Fire rescue boat last summer, one of the department members told me that a few degrees here or there could end up causing our ship to run aground. You have to be alert and keep your eyes open.

Life is filled with detours that distract us and lead us into uncharted waters. Most of the time we don't even realize we are in danger. We just do what we do, like I did with the Coolatas. It is the little things that often lead us astray. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to listen to the sound of his voice.

That what the Apostle Peter did when he got out of the boat and began doing the impossible, walking on water. The truth is that amazing things happen when we walk with Jesus. We do far more than we think we are capable of. Even more, he will never lead us astray or let us go off course. So keep the faith. Follow Jesus.

The Rev. Cal Lord, of Norwich, is the pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Reach him at calstigers@gmail.com.

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Spirituality: If you stick with Jesus, he'll keep you on course - Norwich Bulletin

Spirituality is resolution to every problem: Veena – Daily Pioneer

Spirituality is the resolution to every problem and our personality should be unbiased, truthful, transparent, far sighted and loving said Rajyogini BK Veena Didi at lecture on Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta in daily life at Mansarowar auditorium of State Assembly on Thursday.

She said Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta should not be seen at religious book only as it provides holistic view of life.

Like Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is axial point of epic Mahabharata our heart is door to salvation and bondage.

For refinement of heart knowledge of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is supreme and its assimilation makes every doing as worship.

The only path to development is shedding ego and selflessness. Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is the special source of managing stress.

There would be no clash in life if every work is done with remaining devoted, happiness and dedication. Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta saves from been repulsive and invigorates resilience, responsibility and decision making capability.

Behan Aakriti of Prajapati Brahmkumari Kendra emphasized on the importance of meditation and practiced meditation along with the participants.

Addressing the programme lecture Deputy Speaker Hina Kaware said message of Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is indispensable and brings truth and prosperity in public life.

Principal Secretary State Assembly AP Singh said that Shrimad Bhagwat Geetas knowledge is contemporary in present context. All practicalities of management of life are present in Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta. No religious book other than Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta is helpful in keeping heart pure, solving clashes and helping to deal any situation in life.

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Spirituality is resolution to every problem: Veena - Daily Pioneer

Overcoming Spiritual Programming: The Journey From Fear To Freedom | Spiritual Freedom – Patheos

Believing that there is one right way to practice witchcraft is a symptom of spiritual programming, which is indoctrinating individuals until they believe that their own experiences and knowledge are unimportant or wrong.Spiritual programming is based on fear: those who instill it fear us and seek to control us through their methods, while we, out of fear, fall into their traps. Spiritual freedom occurs when we realize that we have a choice in what we believe and practice.

One of my earliest memories is sitting in a church pew on a Sunday morning. The wood beneath me stuck to my bare legs in my short summer dress. As a child, I couldnt articulate how that painful feeling of stickiness permeated my soul in that Pentecostal church, but I knew that my discomfort was about far more than my sore legs. It was the complete lack of freedom, coupled with the omnipresent fear that doing the wrong thing would end in a one-way ticket straight to hell. Thats enough to make anyone stick to their seat, but I yearned for the freedom I knew existed.

Flash forward to when Im involved with a tradition that, although beautiful in many ways, felt like just another uncomfortable church pew. The very opposite of freedom.

Gatekeepers are trying to keep us stuck to our spiritual seats. What these gatekeepers are doing is trying to program us into believing them, to literally keep us in the place they need us to be. They try to insert doubt and other forms of fear into our minds. This contaminates us spiritually so that we get confused about what intuitively feels right to us.

From telling us that our understanding of the deeper world is wrong, to insinuating that we are incapable of determining what practices are best for us, they program us in ways that can be very subtle but are still very sticky. Their aim is to render us as frozen in fear as they are. Make no mistake; anyone claiming to have the one version of the truth is engaging in spiritual programming. Their goal is to deny you of your own free will and stick you to your seat out of fear.

Theres no point in trying to change the gatekeepers minds, but there is great value in discussing how spiritual programming influences even the most independently minded witch. The gatekeepers are bullies determined to bind us to them through the power of fear. Send them the love they lack and follow your own truth.

Spiritual abuse is the extreme end of programming. It involves manipulating our emotions and thoughts to the point that we no longer believe what feels intuitively true to us. Toxic witches in all their many forms are spiritual programmers, from the gaslighters to those who take up all the air in the room.

Claiming that we shouldnt do deep inner work on our own borders on spiritual abuse because it attempts to infantilize practitioners to the place where they have no ability to make their own decisions. We are not small children who want to eat an entire box of cookies. As adults, we make our own decisions and accept responsibility for our actions. That is, unless we are so spiritually programmed that we blindly follow whatever the gatekeepers tell us.

Spiritual programming shows up as discrediting our individual experience, so much so that what we know to be true ends up needing some sort of external validation. The expression unverified personal gnosis has always rankled me. Its as though what I know to be true isnt, unless some expert agrees. Thats contrary to the very nature of spiritual witchcraft.

Even though Ive always been an independent thinker, I was still accumulating spiritual programming from these paths. In particular, the idea that my inability to deeply connect with any one tradition was a failure on my part. I had a fear of commitment or I lacked discipline. All these hurtful terms used to describe anyone who resists blind adherence to a tradition. Were taught to conform out of fear: if we dont, well be punished, by losing our community or going straight to hell.

Spiritual programming promises us that by staying stuck in the seat of accepting that one system holds all the answers we will have a heavenly life. It denies that the individual is the expert on their own journey, and that spiritual growth is very messy. When we get stuck in spiritual programming, we start believing that forces outside of us are responsible for both our well-being and our misery.

The major shift in how witchcraft is practiced today, in comparison with the wise women of the past, is that we have access to so much information. Our ancestors learned what they could and then improvised the rest. Instinct, intuition and a bit of mysticism drove their practices, not what a website said to do.

Spiritual programming doesnt belong in witchcraft because it steals the very heart of it: the power of the practitioner to be the expert on their own journey. Ive said it many times: the only rule that matters in witchcraft is to know yourself.

Sometimes, we gain insight into who we are by comparing ourselves to others. My early misfit days in the church became clear as I observed how others in the church acted. I wasnt like them. Theres no need to be critical of those who require the comfort of dogma. Being responsible for your own life is frightening to many. For them, the easy road is to just go with the flow. Theyll never even become aware of their herd mentality.

Seems weird to say that herd mentality is encroaching on witchcraft, but it really appears that way. We have all these rules, from which directions of the compass go with each element, to fixed ideas about what constitutes a ritual. If the Christians were to be successful in wiping out real witchcraft, it seems to me that convincing us there were specific rules that must be followed is an excellent approach.

When we being to overcome spiritual programming, its incredibly uncomfortable. Just like when we lift our legs off that pew. Well heal from the stickiness as we move from fear to freedom.

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Spiritual transformations in the middling years – Global Sisters Report

There's a relief and a newfound vastness to your inner world when the midlife years, or middling years as I call them, become the stage for spiritual transformation. Adjectives connected with midlife years, periods of our life marked by the dark night, or major life transitions would be: difficult, overwhelming, confusing, unpleasant. Packed within these seeds of darkness, however, is the radiance of spiritual transformation that can only come about through the pressure of those dark middle years.

"Middling years" may be the typical midlife experience, but they could also be the middle period between one job and another, one stage of life and another, a major life event and the return to normalcy, a change in relationships, expectations and responsibilities. They could even be a retreat.

The maturing person passes through many "middle years" in their life. This summer's retreat followed upon 12 months of such a transition in my own life. The pressure of various changes around me in my community, my ministry and my family became overwhelming and the day I stepped foot in our retreat house I breathed a huge sigh of relief. "Here, at last, I can find some peace and quiet to sort things out."

Jesus directly intervened in that first day with a startling image from the Gospel of Luke. He showed me the man with dropsy who stood before Jesus in the synagogue one Sabbath. I knew instantly that Jesus had diagnosed my spiritual illness. I had dropsy. Dropsy is a buildup of fluid in your tissues that can lead to heart failure and death. "And you, my child," I heard in my heart, "are in danger of heart failure. You are in danger of death. I am about to save you."

So much for peace and quiet! The next eight days, I underwent heart surgery under the action of the Divine Surgeon and Good Shepherd. Jesus brought up before me memories both recent and long past, faces of people in my life and relationships that were limping along at best, issues unresolved and problems that were incomprehensible.

During these transitional "middle years" of our life, whenever and however they may occur, even though they seem to last a long, very long time and overwhelm our capacities to the point that we feel unable to move forward ... something beautiful is happening.

The pain of what broke and confused me for the previous 12 months, sorted out by Jesus himself in my retreat, was actually a blessing that detached me from the desires and ideas that only supported my ego-self.

I had blamed the other for much of my angst, but I saw now that I was the one who had been living in a trance, living in a fantasy of my own making. I saw clearly that all of us are trying to survive and get what we think we need to be significant, or perfect, or happy.

Through the transition of our life, God leads us to enter into the inmost depth of our soul where we see something deeper than our own emotional reactions. St. Augustine described it this way, when he began to reflect upon himself. He says that he saw "with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit, your immutable light."

What relief to find out that truly our struggles in these middling and messy times of life are not really as self-identifying as we feel they are. These struggles, no matter how they come to us, apply pressure on the darker and more immature parts of our mind and heart so that our eyes may see with greater clarity the light of God's radiance within our soul.

In Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander Thomas Merton described it as "le point vierge" or the virgin point at the center of our being that is the "point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal ... the pure glory of God in us." This God-spark, so to speak, has never been touched by our weakness and sin, or sins done against us that we may carry with such sorrow.

This opening and realignment of the heart, this new vision with the "eye of the soul," will give you a deep and utter stillness that begins with the gift of grace that washes away the ego's grasping and spills over into every level of your being. You will discover in time that deep anxiety and frustration will give way to choices that promote peace and reconnect with the energy of a free heart.

May you who are in the midst of middle years, whether this is the first time or the 10th, relax under the hands of the wise Master Surgeon as he transforms the darkness of your life into the radiance of his glory.

[Kathryn James Hermes, a Daughter of St. Paul, is the author of the best-selling bookSurviving Depression: A Catholic Approachas well as a number of other titles. She works with individuals online atpauline.org/heartwork, and her newsletter can be found atpauline.org/sisterkathryn.]

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Spiritual transformations in the middling years - Global Sisters Report

Religion and Spirituality Books Preview: December 2019 – Publishers Weekly


Dec. 1

Enough As You Are by Peggy Weber (Loyola, $13.95 paper, ISBN 978-0-8294-4709-5). Geared toward women, this book reminds readers of Gods love and provides inspiration from the lives of saints.

Dec. 3

The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace, and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown by Dudley Delffs (Zondervan, $22.99, ISBN 978-0-3103-5697-4). This spiritual biography draws on testimonials from figures such as Winston Churchill and Billy Graham as well as Queen Elizabeths devotion to public service to explore her personal faith.

The Soul of Wine: Savoring the Goodness of God by Gisela H. Kreglinger (IVP, $16, ISBN 978-0-83-084584-2). The daughter of a vintner and a theologian makes a case for how wine can help Christians experience Gods presence.

Wake Up to What Matters: A Guide to Tibetan Buddhism for the Next Generation by Avikrita Vajra Sakya (Shambhala, $16.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-61180-660-1). Tibetan lama Sakya seeks to introduce the dharma to millennial readers.

Dec. 10

Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (IVP, $22, ISBN 978-0-8308-4593-4) explores how religious culture wars have misrepresented Christianity at the expense of the poor, and how listening to marginalized communities can help Christians hear Gods call to love and justice in the world.

Dec. 17

Being Jewish Today: Confronting the Real Issues by Tony Bayfield (Bloomsbury Continuum, $25, ISBN 978-1-4729-6208-9). Reform rabbi Bayfield offers his perspective on the impact of modernity on the Jewish community, particularly the rise of anti-Semitism and far-right governments.

An Ecological Theology of Liberation: Salvation and Political Ecology by Daniel Castillo (Orbis, $40, 978-1-62698-321-2). Assistant professor of theology at Loyola University Maryland, Castillo proposes the embrace of a green liberation theology. Such a theology recognizes the need for political and ideological paradigm shifts in relation to globalization, and Castillo grounds this call to conversion in the Christian mystery of salvation.

The Soul of Activism: A Spirituality for Social Change by Shmuly Yanklowitz (Changemakers, $14.95 paper, ISBN 978-1-78904-060-9) calls on the power of interfaith spirituality, which the author argues is a requisite for progressive activists looking to cultivate compassion and lead affirmative change.


Dec. 1

The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear (Barbour, $12.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-64352-240-1). In this novel set during the Civil War, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both sides wounded who seek refuge at her familys farm.

Dec. 3

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen (Bethany, $15.99 paper, ISBN: 978-0-7642-1819-4). A murder investigator falls for the prime suspect, and when a second murder occurs, the search for truth brings secrets to light.

The Dating Charade by Melissa Ferguson (Thomas Nelson, $15.99 paper, ISBN 978-0-7852-3100-4). Two dating adults decide to hide the kids theyre taking care of from each other in this romantic comedy.

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Religion and Spirituality Books Preview: December 2019 - Publishers Weekly

A Spiritual Tour of Cuba – Post News Group

It has become common for African Americans to travel to Africa especially Nigeriafor initiations and festivals marking the holy events and places that are part of the mythology of the indigenous traditions. But descendants of Africans in other places in the diaspora caused by the Atlantic Slave Trade maintained traditions as well and Cuba is one of them.

The Roots of Our Orisha Faith Cuba Tour is a unique 12-day journey that focuses on bringing religious practitioners from the U.S. to meet their counterparts in Cuba as well as researchers and historians from within the Cuban religious community.

It can be said that Cuban culture is African culture, so pervasive is the influence of the formerly enslaved Africans on island life, especially music, food and art. As recently as two generations ago, African languages were still spoken among the descendants of the enslaved, while religious rites are still conducted in old versions of Yoruba and Congolese.

Christina Velasco of the city of Alameda has visited Cuba at least a dozen times, traveling with her husband, Greg Landau, to do research on music, to witness initiations and even one time to see the Pope.

Shes been on cultural tours and attended folkloric demonstrations aimed at tourists, but shes also been to lesser-known strongholds of tradition, the places the Cubans themselves regard as key to maintaining authenticity. I wanted a trip focusing on bringing the U.S. community to Cuba, she said, that would also coordinate meeting priests and priestesses in several African traditions.

The 12-day journey, from January 23 to February 3, 2020, starts in Havana with an excursion to nearby Regla, where a museum displays artifacts of Lucumi, as the Yoruba tradition is called in Cuba.

In the city of Matanzas, lectures on the differences in the styles of initiations and deeper understanding of the spiritual lineages will be presented as well as a private concert with the internationally renowned Los Munequitos band.

Also in Matanzas, a Tata, an expert in the tradition known as Palo Mayombe, which is sourced in Congolese traditional practices, will give a lecture.

In Cienfuegos, travelers will visit the Templo Babaluiaye for the Yoruba deity of smallpox. In Soroa, the highlight is a greenhouse where many of the herbs used in ceremony are grown.

In Palmiras, travelers will be treated to a presentation of the Tambores de Guerra, or War Drums, used in rituals for Chango, the deity of fire.

Throughout the 12-day trip, the character, influence, presence and knowledge of the Africans is emphasized. In Soroa, the visitors will learn about the Cimarrons, or runaway slave towns whose descendants still populate the area.

Although the Trump administration has imposed travel restrictions, the purpose of this trip as a religious excursion is permitted.

Visitors will travel the island on an air-conditioned bus with a dedicated driver, stay in private homes, dine in private eateries and be led by a bi-lingual guide.

Theres room for 30 people and prices range from $2,960-$3,260, excluding airfare. Velasco says the guide is holding low-cost airline tickets until Nov.23, 2019. An orientation via video-conference will take place in December.

For more information, please go to: Rootsofourfaithcubatour.com

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A Spiritual Tour of Cuba - Post News Group

This is spiritually more beneficial than fasting, according to St. John of the Cross – Aleteia EN

Spiritual writers have always stressed the importance of fasting, but St. John of the Cross would argue that there is one spiritual discipline that may be even more beneficial than fasting.

He writes in hisSayings ofLight and Love, Conquering the tongue is better than fasting on bread and water.

What he is referring to is the ability to use our words to build up others, rather than tear them down.

If St. John of the Cross were alive today, he might include Conquering your digital comments in the mix. It requires great spiritual discipline to refrain from using the internet to take a personal jab at someone or posting a snarky comment about an individual.

Too often we forget that there are real people behind the millions of social media profiles on the internet and dont think that we could actually hurt someone else by the words we use in the comment box.

If fasting is easy for you to do, try reforming your speech and internet interactions. You may find yourself having a much more difficult time restraining your impulses and turning off your phone before you do something you will regret.

Read more: How to avoid gossip, according to the The Imitation of Christ

Read more: 3 Mental health benefits of fasting, according to Thomas Aquinas

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This is spiritually more beneficial than fasting, according to St. John of the Cross - Aleteia EN

Spiritual warfare and pornography – Arlington Catholic Herald

When it comes to life, be it board games or the boardroom, itsgenerally best to have a plan. Things go better when you strategize. This isespecially true of things like sports and eminently true of war and combat, asmany people in our diocese know well. But often we forget that living ourChristian faith involves strategy, too. It is, after all, spiritual warfare. Itis true there are many other good analogies for the spiritual life, but thereis a reason St. Paul reminds us that were at war with principalities andpowers, and tells us to put on the whole armor of God. We are at war for ourown souls. How do we win? We need astrategy. What does that look like?

If you look at famous battles such as Thermopylae and Agincourt,battles where one army has fought successfully against overwhelming odds, Ithink we can take away three lessons for strategizing and living the spirituallife. To win a battle, we need to know:

1) What weapons are needed to win. For instance, the Greeks hadsuperior tactics and weaponry at Thermopylae.

2) We need to find a way to even the odds, using strategy to comeup with a battle plan and cut our enemy down to manageable size. The English atAgincourt used the terrain to render the French knights useless.

3) We need to cut the enemys supply lines and force them tofight on our terms. Strip the enemy of resources and they lose their will tofight.

I would submit that in the spiritual life, that translates to:

1) Knowing that frequent confession, weekly Mass and daily prayerare your weapons of choice.

2) Strategizing where your conflicts will be likely, having aplan to engage them, and knowing that you dont have to fight all the battlesall at once. Pick a small thing and work on it in manageable pieces. Thinkabout it: The people and things that usually set you off are the same everyday. That guy who annoys you at work? Probably going to be there tomorrow, andstill be annoying. Someone is probably going to cut you off on the Beltway andmake you angry. You can control precisely one person in that equation. Sowhats your strategy?

3) Remove all opportunities for Satan to get to you or lead youastray. Avoid the near occasions of sin.

This is especially relevant with pornography, as itsunfortunately a common habitual sin that a lot of people struggle to conquer inour age, one of our modern overwhelming armies. A lot of people struggle withwatching stuff they shouldnt watch, and then letting that lead them to actpoorly afterward. Many people struggle to conquer this sin, and feel like itsan un-winnable battle. Its not. Freedom is possible. We just have to stand andfight for it. We have to strategize and act.

So, apply the lessons:

1) What weapons are needed to overcome it, or any sin for thatmatter? Basic training and basic weaponry: The essentials are frequent confession,every week if you need to, Mass every Sunday with worthy reception of holyCommunion (hence the confessions), and a daily habit of prayer, at least 20minutes a day. Those are the necessary basics. You will not win without them.

But then what about a winning strategy? Follow the Greeks atThermopylae and the English at Agincourt:2) and 3) Cut your enemy down to size, make your fight easier and eventhe odds, and cut off Satans supply line. Does your computer lead you astray?Then perhaps its time to install a filter that keeps you away from certainsites. Same with the phone. If you think, Well, Ill just end up caving andentering the password anyway, then make it something hard, like the firstletter of every word in the Hail Mary. Youll never remember it withoutpraying. Replace some of the letters. Cut off the access. Make it hard foryourself to fall. If its your TV, cancel the all-inclusive subscription.Perhaps move the TV and computer out of the bedroom to public places. Dontfight Satan on his own terms. Strategize.

Then finally, strategize to give yourself healthy habits: Regularexercise, fasting, and getting involved in the church community all can helpyou build allies and win the fight. You will need friends and people to keepyou accountable. Therefore, plug in. Find a priest, tell him youre fightingfor your freedom and you want allies.

The general outline (know what weapons you need to win, make thebattle small and winnable, cut off Satans supply lines) can apply to all sortsof things in the spiritual life. But the essential thing is to take Jesus up onhis word, decide to follow him, stand and fight. The battle is for our souls,and we must fight or all is lost. But we dont fight alone. God fights withinus and redeems us even when we fall, enabling us to fight again and again. IfGod is for us, who can be against us?

Fr. Miserendino is parochial vicar at St. BernadetteChurch in Springfield.

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Spiritual warfare and pornography - Arlington Catholic Herald

The Spiritual and Ecological Role of the Condor in the North Coast – KCET

Since the 20th century, Western medicine has focused on treating a patients symptoms, not the underlying cause. Today, scientists and doctors are realizing that we should be wary of a health system that relies on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising and are embracing alternative, preventive whole body options, which start with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. These are concepts Indigenous peoples have practiced for thousands of years, by using medicinal plant knowledge that informed much our pharmacopeia.

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The Spiritual and Ecological Role of the Condor in the North Coast - KCET

IMPACThought: Is your spiritual home built on firm foundation? – The Hartsville Vidette

By Jon Shonebarger

I admire the contractors and their subcontractors who have the expertise and trade skill to construct a home. My talents are not in technical trades, but in pastoral ministry, counseling and non-profit organizational leadership. I have learned however, that a home built on a solid foundation is vital in the construction of that home and its longevity. Building a home on shifting ground or a flood plain will, in time, destroy it.

In similar fashion, the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples that there were two foundations that mankind builds their spiritual lives. The Scripture reference is Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus declares that a wise man builds his house upon a rock. When the rain descends, the floods come and the wind blows but the house remains strong and uncompromised. The reason was it was built to endure the storms; it was prepared for the worst nature could cast upon it. This house was built upon a solid rock.

Get the rest of the story by picking up this weeks Hartsville Vidette!

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IMPACThought: Is your spiritual home built on firm foundation? - The Hartsville Vidette

Letter: Editorial: Building spiritual muscle with education and immigration – Baptist Standard

RE: Editorial: Building spiritual muscle with education and immigration

In his September editorial regarding education and immigration, Eric Black makes a strong case for the role of Christians in education and immigration issues, but the connection should reach far further than the public schools and living room conversations. The issues intertwine to create a unique opportunity for the church.

In 2018 alone, Texas became home to 1,692 victims of war and persecutionrefugees. In fact, the American Immigration Council reports that one-in-six Texas residents is an immigrant. Many of these people need ESL instructiona need local churches can meet. And while meeting this practical need, churches can minister holistically, introducing immigrants to a God not bound by borders who loves them unconditionally.

In my 20 years of serving with HOPE Literacy, an organization that assists churches in establishing such programs, Ive seen churches seize this opportunity as an avenue for connection, and as a result, thousands of lives have been transformed.

For decades, the church has mourned how the 10/40 window is closed to the gospel. However, in recent years, God has smashed that window and brought peopleas refugees and immigrantsfrom those countries and many others to our back door.

Reaching the world with the love of Christ no longer is the domain of foreign missionaries. Its right here in our communities and rooted in education assistance the local church easily can provide.

Harry WilsonExecutive Director, HOPE LiteracyFort Worth

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Letter: Editorial: Building spiritual muscle with education and immigration - Baptist Standard

Never alone: How Spiritual Ideas Work In Us – Patch.com

The Umbrella Academy will host a free lecture by Melanie Wahlberg at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Umbrella Community Arts Center, 40 Stow St., Concord.

The lecture, titled Never alone: How Spiritual Ideas Work In Us, is sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Concord.

Wahlberg originally pursued a career as a college mathematics professor, achieving a doctorate in mathematics. However, she found that when students would come to her office for help with calculus, conversation frequently turned to spirituality after solving the math problems.

Eventually, Wahlberg shifted her career from mathematics professor to full-time Christian Science practitioner.

When people contact me to pray for them, I reassure them that God loves us deeply, providing fresh ideas about our spiritual nature that wipe away fear and reveal inspired solutions, Wahlberg said.

By turning to God for help, we open up to divine ideas to feel the presence of God in tangible ways, ways that change our lives and our health for the better.

She is a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship and travels from her home in Southern California, speaking to audiences throughout the country about Christian Science healing.

For information, email csconcordma.clerk@gmail.com.

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Never alone: How Spiritual Ideas Work In Us - Patch.com

Spiritually Speaking: A lover of the first snow – Wicked Local Walpole

The snow had begun in the gloaming,

And busily all the night

Had been heaping field and highway

With a silence deep and white.

James Russell Lowell, 1847

The first snow.

It caught me by surprise, like it does every year. First snowflakes. First snows arrival. First day or evening when the air actually smells like snow, a chilly, clean scent. It hints at what is to come.

Are you ready for the winter? the earth asks. Because its on the way. In just a few months I will no doubt be sick of the snow, but right now?

I welcome the first snow.

Staring out the window on a mid-November chilly and grey Sunday afternoon this week, daydreaming a bit as I sat in a church meeting, I looked outside, then looked again, then saw delicate white flakes falling down to earth, flakes that had not been seen in these parts since last March, on the tenth to be exact. For 253 days the snow went away. And now it is back.

I love the first snow.

By meteorological measurements the sudden burst of the white stuff that snuck into my home town: it will not be named as the first official snow of the winter of 2019-20. My favorite local weatherman, David Epstein, reports that in order for a snowfall to be the real first snow, it has to measure at least a tenth of an inch deep, just enough of the white stuff to cover the ground, if only temporarily. Still, the minute dusting that was left behind in the wake of that squall: it comforted me in its annual return. In a world where the volume of life can be so darn loud right now car horns honking in traffic and media blaring from screens and raised partisan voices accusing from the TV and leaf blowers buzzing the first snow, thank God, blanketed life in peace and stillness, quieted my heart and soul, if only for a moment.

I listen to the first snow and it says, Hush

As with all of New Englands weather, it is pretty much impossible to predict with certainty when the first significant snow will arrive each year. In 2000, the snow didnt show up until Jan. 13, disappointing hope-filled white Christmas fans, but in 2010 first snow blew in on Oct. 10, tricking and treating us well before Halloween. For all that New Englanders love to talk about the weather and worry about the weather and complain about the weather, it is humbling to consider that we have absolutely no control over the weather. When will winter storm like a blizzard or sleet with wet sticky snow or surprise us with puffy white flakes that lazily fall down to the earth and pile up in elegant puffy drifts?

I wonder when the snow will come then I remember that God only knows.

So, thank you first snow. Thank you too, You, the Maker of the snow and the winter and all seasons. Thank you that for us in this part of Creation, we get to enjoy it all weather wise: gentle May mornings and steamy August noon-times and blustery September evenings and yes, a November day, just past noon, when the snow came back and it fell upon the ground and for a moment I forgot the world and all its pressures and all its demands and all its brokenness and I just watched the tiny flakes with wonder and gratitude.

I stood and watched by the window

The noiseless work of the sky,

And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,

Like brown leaves whirling by.

The Rev. John F. Hudson is senior pastor of the Pilgrim Church, United Church of Christ, in Sherborn (pilgrimsherborn.org). If you have a word or idea youd like defined in a future column or have comments, please send them to pastorjohn@pilgrimsherborn.org or in care of the Dover-Sherborn Press (Dover-Sherborn@wickedlocal.com).

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Spiritually Speaking: A lover of the first snow - Wicked Local Walpole

Spiritual Motels: making sense of the world with Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans – San Diego Reader

Our music draws from singer-songwriter, indie-folk, country, spoken word, and electronic influences, says singer-songwriter Amy Day, one half of the Spiritual Motels. Our sound has been compared to the Head and the Heart, the Avett Brothers, and Bon Iver. Days own ethereal vocals bring to mind Lana Del Rey and Hope Sandoval.

Founded in mid-2018, the duo features Tierrasanta resident Day (a law school writing professor) on keys, accordion, and harpsichord alongside Mission Valley school psychologist Omar Musisko (of San Diego Music Award Best Americana nominees the Peripherals) on guitar, bass, drums, harmonica, and mandolin. Going back to when Day joined the Peripherals after her band The Local split, the pair honed their surprisingly lush dual-vocal sound by creating music composed with an eye toward live performances. Switching instruments through the set, the band utilizes guitar, piano, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, effects, and live loops and loop pedals, says Day.

I use a JamMan looper pedal, says Musisko. We do live looping by creating and layering parts on the spot, and we also use samples we created in the studio and loaded into the pedal, like synths, handclaps, and on one song a series of voice mails. Were not trying to recreate the studio versions of the songs and like to improvise. We have different arrangements on different songs and mix them up and rewrite them all the time.

Their new full-length Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios in El Cajon. This album covers a lot of emotionally heavy stuff like mental health, addiction, existence, and relationships, says Musisko. The title is a play on trying to make sense and capture these things through art in the current state of the world.

The record release party happens Saturday, November 23, at the Merrow in Hillcrest, with a bill that includes Lindsay White, who recently performed her new single Let Love Lead the Way at this years Womens March San Diego. Also appearing is Becca Jay, who contributed vocals to albums by Gregory Page (So It Goes) and Veronica May (Awakened) before her own debut full-length was released just over a year ago.

Normally, we perform just as a duo, says Day. For the release show, however, were going to have lots of guests performing as part of our set. Well have Becca Jay and Jules Stewart singing backing vocals on several songs. Jules will also be drumming on several songs. Rob Deez is going to be rapping a verse of one of our songs, and Lee Saper will be playing trombone on another. But even with all these incredibly talented local musicians on stage with us, the show will still be mainly a duo-focused show.

Were really proud of being a duo, because we love being a pair of musicians who get on stage to do a lot, with just two people.

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Spiritual Motels: making sense of the world with Super Tiny Disappearing Oceans - San Diego Reader

After The Ritual: The Messiness of Spiritual Growth | what to do after a ritual – Patheos

Theres this illusion that rituals, and all types of spiritual growth, are free from anything dirty or unattractive. Its time we talk about what really happens when the ritual ends, when things can get really messy. After the candles have been extinguished, the offerings are looking a bit sad, and weve cried all the tears possible. Theres dripped wax on the carpet, tissues everywhere and holes in the altar cloth from who knows what. Internally, we often feel the same way. True spiritual growth is a very messy process that really begins after the ritual is over.

After the ritual ends, we may feel energized or exhausted, experience blinding clarity or the numbness symptomatic of deep change. During the ritual we may have been intimately connected with our spirits, so much so that we feel sad upon returning to our normal state of being. Or we can emerge drenched in the love of the goddess. Our task is to lean into these states of being so we can consume that magickal medicine we sought.

Sometimes during the performance of the ritual, we may even feel disconnected or things can go in an entirely different direction than what we had planned. While we are the most important part of any ritual, when we seek transformation through Hekate and spirits, they will impart their medicine upon us in ways that may seem completely unsensible or they may not have even seemed to have shown up. Hekate was there. Perhaps not how you expected her to be. Shes like that.

Such was my experience during my private ritual on Hekates Night. I was determined that I was going to have a deep session with my Mother.

I dropped the aster bath bombs Id made into the steaming tub, lit the bundle of juniper, rosemary and wormwood, then carefully arranged the candles I made. Id been feeling jittery all day, so I was excited about the sweet relief in Hekates warm, wet womb. Nope. Instead my hyper awareness ramped up even more. It was as though I could feel everyone who was doing the Death Walking Ritual of Release. I fiercely worked my body with the black salt scrub, but still no calmness.

Mugwort oil was my next attempt. Drenched in charcoal, salt and mugwort, I was still receiving all this input from what felt like thousands of witches. I needed to bury myself outside, but it was freezing and raining. Undaunted, I submerged my head several times. The only message that came through that I was to stop trying to hold onto all the energy coming at me. Hekate said that I was merely the conduit between her and all of them.

It wasnt until my early morning journey to release my offering the next day that the teaching that Hekate had bestowed on me during my ritual was potent medicine. She had showed me how I am inspiring thousands to seek her mysteries and their own deeper selves. What more could any witch ask for? During the ritual I had recommitted to her, saying that I will do her bidding. It had been like trying to talk to someone at a rock concert. But in the stillness of the morning, I could finally listen to her. Thats when I was nourished by her medicine. Magick is medicine, and it works at its own pace.

In my experience, the amplified energy during ritual can block us from receiving the medicine offered. More like we take the medicine, but the effects are not felt until later on, when our emotions simmer down. When we get quiet.

When we open ourselves up to the medicine of a ritual, our shadow often roars against the treatment. What is nourishment to the soul is poison to the shadow. Resistance is the symptom of the rituals power. The medicine is strong. Dont spit it out, but rather allow it to work its magick. Resistance shows up as doubt. Was it merely my imagination? Why didnt I feel more magick? These are two questions that typically arise. The answer to the first is that no it wasnt, and to the second; medicine magick doesnt need to be felt to work.

I used to not schedule enough time for rituals, but now I plan for the entire day before, the day of, and the day after. Make the ritual your vacation, send the kids for a sleepover, and put the pets in the spare bedroom. This is YOUR time.

Patience is one of my greatest teachers. Allow the medicine to weave the magick in you, let it sink into your body, mind and soul.

Theres a risk when we do ritual that we hyperfocus on getting attention and forget to pay attention. In the days following the ritual, look for signs. Stay aware. Get into your place of stillness, whether by walking, yoga or sitting. Turn inward to where the truth waits for you to listen.

When we experience true spiritual death walking the separation of the eternal, etheric self from our corporeal beings we come back changed. As we unite back into wholeness, the medicine our spiritual self holds interacts with the corporeal self. This is why we may feel hyperaware or need to sleep for 14 hours. An adjustment process has to occur. Trust in the process.

Nourish yourself through good food, rest and self compassion. Hekates Feast is not just for her. Make enough of the delicious treats for both of you to share afterwards. Sweet and protein are what I need after a deep ritual. Your needs will vary depending on your medicine.

Recording the ritual experience is vital. Basic record keeping should include the date/time, moon phase, other astrological considerations, the details of your altar, magickal formulary (e.g., incense and oil recipes), your attire, methods used, and your petition or incantation. A brief description of the experience with key features should also be included. I place that information in my Book of Shadows, but the processing of the experience goes in my Book of Life.

While adjusting to our spiritual medicine, we also have to clean up the physical remains from the ritual. Here are a few tips for cleaning up your offerings and materia magicka.

Unless you feel that you shouldnt do so, feel free to eat them, reuse them or otherwise repurpose. The exception is offerings left at the crossroads for Hekate, in which case what is offered may be left for consuming by the local wildlife. Hekate doesnt need you to give her a bunch of food or fancy trinkets, but if you want to, thats fine. In ancient times, the debris from rituals would be offered to Hekate. In this spirit, when you take out the ritual trash, release it to her. She is the Sacred Filth Eater who is nourished by our garbage, transforming it anew. Of course, this doesnt mean that we should make a pile of debris.

When we dine with the goddess, we are celebrating the sacred within us as well as honoring her. Eat the cheesecake, cook with that garlic, and drink the wine. Unless you feel you shouldnt.

The candles, incense and other things (like flowers) that often are part of our altars may be spiritually spent (like us) after the ritual. Beeswax candles can be composted, and all candles can be melted down for use in new ones or for other forms of witchery, for sealing spells and making poppets. Incense and flowers, if spent, can be composted. Consider the way youll dispose of all the items on your altar as you plan it. Most objects that dont decompose can be cleansed with salt or oil for reuse.

We Are Our Own Healers: My Journey From Shattered To Whole

Witchcraft Is My Medicine

Hekates Serpent Medicine And The Awakening Of The Inner Snake Goddess

The Agape Phoberos Ritual

Spiritual Death Walking: Crafting An Activating Oil And Journeying To The Other Side

November 16: Hekates Night And The Death Walking Ritual of Release

Great Goddesses of Magick & Mystery: Ritual for Unleashing Your Inner Witch

Hekate and Samhain: Suggestions for Witchery, Rituals and More

Hekates Nine Keys Ritual

Hekate, Guardian of the Children: Ritual of Blessing, Protection and Rescue

Hekate and the Summer Solstice: Suggestions for Themes, Rituals and Correspondences

Hekate & November: The Underworld, Crossroads, Death Walking & Initiation

Hekate & December: Witchcraft for the Darkest Month & The Promise of Rebirth

Hekate and the Hieros Pyr: Using Her Sacred Fires in Witchery

The Whole Moon Ritual

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After The Ritual: The Messiness of Spiritual Growth | what to do after a ritual - Patheos

As Indian mental health research sphere is penetrated by pseudo-spiritual influences, it’s time medical… – Firstpost

The famous aerospace engineer, Wernher von Braun, once wittingly said, research is what Im doing when I dont know what Im doing, which perhaps was implied on the essence of inquiry a question to seek an answer for that every scientific study carries within its core. But its not uncommon to take Brauns quote for granted and measure incomprehensible ideas under the label of research, only to ice them later with the scientific method. The vivid undertone of this analogy has been justified by the sorry state of mental health research and awareness in India.

In a recent one, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sanctioned funds for a large-scale study which intends to find out whether whispering mahamrityunjay mantra into the ears of patients with traumatic brain injuries will prove helpful in their recovery from states of coma. The methodology is precisely as it sounds and Dr Ashok Kumar, after getting his proposal rejected from AIIMS for being unscientific, has finally been allowed a hefty fellowship by the ICMR.

A second news headline captured a protest by IISC students against a campus event which invited Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to give a talk on World Mental Health Day. A petition signed by 700 students opposed the event calling it unscientific while demanding for eligible experts such as those from NIMHANS. Ravi Shankars response to the opposition, as described in a report by The Indian Express, was that his brand of healing had just as much to offer as researchers from NIMHANS.

Illustration by Satwick Gade

This is not the first time invalid and untested claims on mental healthcare have emerged and are being uplifted by larger bodies. The collective fascination with cow excreta as medicinal cure for a range of conditions including cancer has been a great example familiar to us. In developmental psychology, Garbh Sanskar has been popular among many would-be parents. The practice provides a list of prenatal activities (including a guide to concieve) that promises the 'perfect' progeny.

The plight, as seen from the above reports and several alike, signifies gross contamination in the field of mental health research and its related areas. The boundaries between scientific and unscientific continue to blur allowing groundless ideological and pseudo-spiritual influence to penetrate the sphere of mental health. Whats astonishing is that the promotion of such ideas is rampant in a time when the Indian system of mental health in all its professional and public aspects is struggling to attain recognition.

But what drives such ideas to surface in the country? Would criticising them means to limit the scope of research and abolish the encouragement of novel prepositions betraying the very purpose of research? Are we saying that research like the one funded by ICMR shouldnt take place?

Bhargavi Davar, founder of Bapu Trust, a Pune-based community mental health organisation, weighs in on this saying, this [ICMR project] research is quite interesting because, within our work, we use arts-based therapy which has a focus on vocalisation and breath work and these elements do have healing aspects. However, both our work and the work studied in the research is of a group getting together with positive thoughts and intentions. I feel that research like this can have controlled conditions where the group setting remains and the words of the chants are changed to nonsense words, or adapted for the religion of the patient, for example, Quranic reading for Muslim patients. Then, we would be able to say whether it's the group focus and the positive intention that's healing, or the words themselves, or both.

But should researches like the ones above be treated as priority? Or should we first strive to fill the gaps of robust mental health data for a diverse set of the population? Davar says, "We don't yet know fully understand the length and breadth of psychosocial distress experienced by Indian citizens and perhaps, using culturally valid tools to measure it would be a more urgent need, since it would tell us groups that are under severe distress and need interventions very soon.

The reinforcement of stigma

However, opinions on scientific temper also call for radical changes. Vaidehi Chilwarwar, a Mumbai-based psychologist and researcher highlights a considerable lack of scientific temper in mental health research in India, saying, since mental illness is already considered a mysterious and mystical territory; indulging in faith based (read superstition) practices appear a convenient resort to the uninformed (not uneducated) sections of the society.

Spiritual leaders like Ravi Shankar and many others seem to be reinforcing the stigma that characterises mental health issues as illegitimate constructs that do not require professional expertise to help. We never observe leaders calling themselves as gastrointestinal or oncological experts, but given the covert nature of mental illness, it becomes easy for someone to claim authority which, as Ravi Shankar believes, has as much to offer as researchers who have spent decades studying it from every possible dimension.

Aiming at the reason behind the popularity of such ideas, Vaidehi further adds, The power of crafting 'healing techniques' lies with those who intend to project a political image rather than minimise the damage. A majority of the service users seem to miss out on the authenticity of such steps and accept decisions on the face value without reflecting on its usefulness.

Historically, the oppressive forces have concealed their tyranny under the label of research. In the sketchy past, be it medicine or psychiatry, in particular, research had been used to justify oppression against marginalised communities. The eugenics movement, the racist history of intelligence testing, the misdiagnosis of hysteria in women are all classic examples of a universal mindset that attempts to justify its perpetuation.

Its not wrong to entertain that all scientific findings were once just plain imaginations but with every research pertaining to the human mind, comes great ethical responsibility that speaks to the psychosocial individuality of the person. Stressing on this lack of autonomy in decision making, Vaidehi says, The interventions are not seen to be evenly distributed and spread across community members. In fact, the interventionists take decisions for the sufferers. And thus people who actually experience issues are seldom invited to have a say in formulating solutions.

The need for direction

Another argument that defends ideological influence on psychiatric research claims preference of eastern ideas over western. This is despite concepts such as group therapy, community care, art-based therapies being rooted in the Indian tradition. Similarly, Buddhist psychology and its use of meditation within mindfulness-based therapies are well known to bring effective change in people and are validated by research.

Before exploring the metaphysical boundaries, India needs to fill its own gaps of research in existing interventions. For example, an important untouched concern is the effectiveness of Indian mental health professionals. Due to mushrooming courses and a rigid academic system, there is a rise in quackery which isnt adequately prevented under law.

Decentralisation of decision-making power over research projects pertaining to health and welfare is highly needed," Vaidehi says. Rather than discouraging the participation of people in deciding what works best for them, the authorities need to be inclusive in terms of research which is not just an attempt to address the concerns of mental illness but also its related areas such as gender, sexuality, oppression etc, all these of which are in dire need of scientific validity.

Its crucial that medical organisations consider the literature supporting the research hypothesis with utmost care as well as with a subsequent lookout for the need of the hour. There are much more viable candidates for research ideas given Indias high levels of psychological distress and a relatively low budget for research. Once the leftover amount is invested into taking care of our basic interventive frameworks, it would then seem rational to take on exploratory studies of a sceptical nature. We have a long way to go before we can even imagine meeting the mental health treatment gap. Its high time we decide whether we are going to have fruitful discussions which actually help the people, or are we just going to sail within the political winds.

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

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As Indian mental health research sphere is penetrated by pseudo-spiritual influences, it's time medical... - Firstpost

Baylor regents hear report from spirituality and character study – Baptist Standard

WACOPreliminary findings from a study of Baylor University students indicates seniors report reading the Bible more often and indicate stronger character than entering freshmen.

The studys preliminary findings also indicate Baylor seniors and alumni have higher levels of Bible belief than new students.

At a Nov. 1 meeting, Baylors board of regents heard early findings from the Baylor Spirituality and Character Study, a longitudinal study to track the long-term impact of a Baylor education on a persons faith and character.

Researchers leading the study are Kevin D. Dougherty, associate professor of sociology; Perry L. Glanzer, professor of educational foundations; and Sarah A. Schnitker, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience.

The initial survey of 3,369 first-year and 969 senior students, as well as 271 alumni who graduated 10 years ago, was conducted in fall 2018, with additional qualitative interviews of 42 first-year and 35 senior students.

The ongoing research project will continue to collect information each year about students faith and character from when they arrive at Baylor, when they graduate and a decade after graduation.

Researchers noted their conclusions are only preliminary, adding they will be able to provide more accurate comparisons when they have data from the same groups of students in their first year at Baylor and in their senior year.

Both entering freshmen and graduating seniors at Baylor are more religious than Americans in general. More than nine out of 10 new students and seniors (93 percent) identify with a religious tradition, and half (50 percent) of Baylor students attend religious services at least once a week, compared to 30 percent of the U.S. population.

Furthermore, new students and seniors reported high levels of being spiritually moved by nature, talking with others about their faith, their commitment to God, applying their faith to political and social issues and seeking opportunities to grow spiritually.

About three-fourths (74 percent) alumni and more than two-thirds (69 percent) of seniors agreed the Bible is inspired by God, compared to 61 percent of new students.

One in three new students (31 percent) report reading the Bible at least once a week. Thats more than the general U.S. population (26 percent), but less than seniors (43 percent) or alumni (54 percent).

Seniors also self-report stronger character than new students, giving themselves higher ratings on measures such as forgiveness of others, forgiveness of situations, gratitude, openness to revising ones viewpoint and respect for others viewpoints. Seniors also displayed more curiosity, faith, judgment, love of learning, perseverance, prudence and wisdom.

When it comes to having purposeful lives, entering students and senior agreed. Eight in 10seniors and new students report that their life is filled with meaning and purpose. However, in qualitative interviews, more than half of new students could not yet identify a purpose.

Baylor President Linda Livingstone said the long-term study will help the university better understand where students are in their faith, why they change, how they grow and what is most impactful during their time at Baylor. The study will help Baylor learn how the university can support their spiritual and character development, she said.

Its important for Baylor, as well as other faith-based colleges and universities, that we understand what most influences the spiritual and character development of young people while theyre in college, Livingstone said. We want to ensure this continues to be an important part of their life after college, and that Baylor continues to stay true to our Christian mission.

At the same board meeting, regents continued discussion about how Baylor can provide a loving caring community for LGBTQ students, listening to a panel of three students from that segment of the student population. The board took no action regarding any policy change.

The universitys statement on human sexuality affirms purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual acts outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.

Baylors student conduct policy stipulates that the university expects each Baylor student will conduct himself or herself in accordance with Christian principles as commonly perceived by Texas Baptists.

Also at the board meeting, regents approved $5 million for the first phase of design and fees for the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. The total projected budget for the project is estimated to be $60 million. Construction could begin by summer 2020, with an anticipated opening in spring 2022.

Regents paid tribute to Mark Hurd, a 1979 Baylor graduate and Oracle CEO, who died Oct. 18. Hurd had served on the board of regents since 2014 and as vice chair since 2017.

For the past five years, Mark Hurd served tirelessly and selflessly on the Baylor board of regents. He genuinely loved and cared for Baylor and contributed his time, strategic leadership and treasure to help achieve Baylors vision for the future as the preeminent Christian research university, said Jerry Clements, chair of the board of regents.

Our board greatly misses his presence, wisdom and leadership, and our thoughts, prayers and support continue to be with the Hurd family.

Based on information provided by Lori W. Fogleman with the Baylor University office of media and public relations.

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Baylor regents hear report from spirituality and character study - Baptist Standard

Religion and Spirituality Book Deals: November 6, 2019 – Publishers Weekly

Actor/Influencer Lands at Zondervan

Senior acquisition editor at Zondervan Mick Silva took North American rights from Anthony Mattero at Creative Artists Agency to a book by actor and content creator Marcus Johns. The book, You Cant Do It!: There Are A Million Reasons You CantFind the Reason You Can, collects short personal stories that shows Johnss path to becoming an influential digital producers and the positive, motivational perspective he lives by. Its slated for publication on June 23, 2020.

Fortress Takes Two

Lisa Kloskin at Fortress Press acquired world rights from Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary to Twelve Tiny Things by Heidi Barr and Ellie Roscher. The book invites readers to identify and engage in small, intentional practices that root us in our humanity, according to the publisher. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021.

In a second world rights deal for Fortress, Kloskin acquired Alice Connors untitled follow-up to Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation (Fortress, 2017). It will examine the stories of women from the Bible, including such well-known names as Rachel, Leah, and Miriam, as well as lesser known characters including Tamar and Jephthahs Daughter. The book is slated for publication in spring 2021. The deal was unagented.

Sounds True Flies High

Sounds Trues editorial director Haven Iverson bought world rights from Lauren Goodwin and Ava Taylor at Yama Talent to Spiritually Fly by Faith Hunter, a yoga and meditation teacher based in Washington, D.C. Slated for publication in spring 2020, Spiritually Fly collects Hunters teachings on breath, movement, sound, and stillness that are geared toward inspiring and empowering readers.

Due to a technical error, Religion and Spirituality Book Deals was unavailable in Religion BookLine on Oct. 23. Check out the column here.

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Religion and Spirituality Book Deals: November 6, 2019 - Publishers Weekly

Trump’s new ‘spiritual adviser’ thinks saying no to him is like saying no to God – The indy100

Despite spending his campaign shamelessly pandering to the religious right, Donald Trump isn't exactly known for his spiritual inclinations.

But fear not, his latest White House appointee is ready to change all that. Sort of.

Former megachurch leader Paula White is now officially Trump's "spiritual advisor" taking on the role of special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative.

Her particular brand of Christianity is pretty convenient to the president, as apparently she claims that God rewards people with... loads of money.

She also reckons she has the right to declare the White House "holy ground" because she was standing in it, and that saying no to Trump is basically the same thing as saying no to God.

Obviously, everyone is free to believe whatever they wantto believe, butthe internet mostly believes she's a rather hilarious choice.

It's pretty interesting that Trump has chosen the run-up to the 2020 election as the moment to re-assert his supposed faith, but we don't want to be cynical, maybe he truly believes that it was God - and not his father - that made him rich.

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Trump's new 'spiritual adviser' thinks saying no to him is like saying no to God - The indy100

These Celebrities Say Their Spiritual Journeys Have Benefitted Their Lives And Careers – Forbes

Now with Natalie is a documentary series on Hillsong Channel featuring Hailey Bieber, Kelly Rowland, Tyson Chandler, and other celebrities. The six episodes, executive produced and hosted by Natalie Manuel Lee, feature insightful conversations with some of todays leading figures in entertainment, sports and fashion sharing how their spiritual journeys have positively impacted their lives and careers. The aim is to lift the veil on celebrity, exploring how a culture of compete and compare leads to many stars grappling with industry pressure, social media versus self-worth, defining happiness on your own terms, and leading a more purpose-filled life.

Natalie Manuel Lee is the producer and host of "Now with Natalie."

Lee is a celebrity stylist by day who served as brand manager for her brother Jerry Lorenzos brand Fear of God before leaving the company to pursue her own life purpose.The shows first season features Hailey Bieber, daughter of Stephen Baldwin and wife of Justin Bieber, on how her spirituality helped her to create her own identity and find her purpose outside of her familys legacy. Kelly Rowland discusses her humble beginnings, becoming a member of Destinys Child, and how tapping into her spirituality helped her find her identity as a solo artist. Los Angeles Lakers Center Tyson Chandler talks about what purpose looks like in an industry where value is determined by performance, and the role spirituality has played in his athletic career.

The main message of the show is that our worth and value does not lie in material things, how much money we have, how famous we are, or our job titles, says Lee. Now with Natalie breaks down these false narratives. Being your authentic self is the key to achieving a sense of purpose and happiness. The celebrities I interview on the show are open and honest about their struggles with shaping their own identities, depression, the compete and compare epidemic, fame, and so on.

Lee encourages celebrities to share how their spirituality has helped them to thrive.

After studying communications in college, Lee interned for CBS. She then moved to Los Angeles, where she began styling celebrities and collaborating with her brother to help build his clothing line, Fear of God. But these days, she feels she has truly tapped into her life purpose, which is creating Now with Natalie. With the show, my aim is to inspire people. The lessons learned and the truth being told by my guests will help serve viewers, she says. We live in a culture that glorifies celebrity. There is power in hearing these famous people vocalize their struggles because weve all been through some version of them. It helps us heal ourselves.

Lee herself suffered from depression after transitioning out of her work for Fear of God. She realized that she was allowing her job title to determine her self-worth. So, she turned to her faith, her family, and her friends for support, opening up to them about her problems in an authentic way. This awakening led to her creating Now with Natalie in order to help other people heal.

To young people interested in finding their life purpose, Lee says, Get to know yourself and who you really are. Then youll understand your purpose and why youre here. These days, its easy for young people to scroll on social media and compare themselves and their lives to someone elses. Run your own race. Success is not defined by your job title or material things money, cars, clothes, etc. Understand the tools you need to truly sustain yourself and stay encouraged.

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These Celebrities Say Their Spiritual Journeys Have Benefitted Their Lives And Careers - Forbes